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2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

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2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Review

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While many people prefer the rugged look and elevated ground clearance of a small SUV, there are still a number of drivers who prefer a traditional car-based wagon. For these few die-hard loyalists, Volkswagen builds the 2012 Jetta SportWagen, a midsize wagon based on the last generation Jetta sedan. As roomy inside as any Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, the 2012 SportWagen goes a step further by offering superior ride and handling, as well as the option of a very fuel-efficient 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel engine. In TDI form, the Jetta SportWagen earns an EPA-estimated 42 mpg highway (although most drivers report getting better mileage over time) with the manual transmission.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need more cargo versatility than a sedan can offer, but you don't want to give up sedan-like ride and handling, the 2012 VW Jetta SportWagen makes a great compromise. Fuel efficient with either the gasoline or diesel engine, the SportWagen won't make you cringe when it comes time to refuel.

You May Not Like This Car If...

A wagon is still a wagon, and some may prefer the cool look of the Golf TDI hatchback to the Jetta SportWagen's "soccer mom" image. Those who need better ground clearance and/or all-wheel drive might be happier with the VW Tiguan.

What's New for 2012

A new SE with Sunroof package is offered on both the gasoline and diesel models, while a Sunroof and Navigation package is available only on diesel-powered Jetta SportWagens.

Driving the Jetta SportWagen

Driving Impressions Although the 2012 VW Jetta SportWagen still rides on the old 2010 VW Jetta sedan platform, it is in no way antiquated or less fun to drive. As one would...

expect from a German-engineered car, the Jetta SportWagen is a great driver's car. The firm suspension keeps body roll to a minimum without impinging on a smooth ride, even over rough or broken pavement. The 2.5-liter engine doesn't deliver thrilling acceleration, but it gets the job done and returns respectable fuel economy. If you can afford the extra cash, go for the 2.0-liter TDI clean diesel. It has gobs of torque giving it GTI-like off-the-line acceleration, and it gets great fuel economy, with a projected highway range of over 600 miles on a single fill-up. Another advantage unique to the diesel Jetta SportWagen is its excellent DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) automatic transmission. The 6-speed DSG requires only a tapping of the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifter to deliver rapid-fire gear changes.

2.0-LITER TDI DIESEL ENGINE
The Jetta's 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine promises to be the star of the SportWagen engine lineup. Impressive torque output suggests the TDI is quicker than the 2.5-liter gasoline engine in some instances, and VW reports drivers may see better real-world mileage than the EPA-reported figures of 30 mpg city and 42 mpg highway.

6-SPEED DIRECT-SHIFT GEARBOX (DSG)
During stop and go traffic the DSG is a smooth shifting automatic. But when the road gets twisty, the DSG can be operated just like a manual transmission, only without the need to operate a clutch pedal.

2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Details
Interior

We've always been a fan of VW's interior styling, and the 2012 Jetta SportWagen is no exception. Smartly styled with high-quality materials and brightly lit instrumentation, the SportWagen's roomy interior feels almost Audi-like. A vast cargo hold behind the second row should please those who carry lots of gear or have large dogs. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the rear-seat accommodations, which are a bit snug in the legroom department. The 2012 VW Jetta SportWagen's vast panoramic glass sunroof covers both front and rear seats, allowing everyone inside to enjoy sunshine and fresh air. Sadly, many of VW's the best features, such as the Dynaudio stereo, power driver's seat adjuster and leather seating, are not offered on the 2012 Jetta SportWagen.

Exterior

Although it shares a nameplate with the Jetta sedan, the 2012 VW Jetta SportWagen still rides on the previous-generation Jetta platform. Its sloping hood, swept back headlamps and 2-bar grille are shared with the current Golf/GTI, but the similarities stop there. The SportWagen's extended roof allows for much more cargo storage aided by the factory roof rack. A wide rear liftgate allows full access to the roomy cargo area and is fitted with a rear defroster, wiper and washer. Available 17- inch alloy wheels help wake up an otherwise modest wagon design, as do the optional ground effects and 18-inch black alloy wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Standard features on the 2.5 S include a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, heated power mirrors and windshield wiper nozzles, heated front seats, air conditioning, rear wiper/washer, cruise control, keyless remote entry, 16-inch wheels, AM/FM stereo with a single-disc CD player and eight speakers, auxiliary audio input jack, side-curtain airbags, antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, and hydraulic brake assist. The SE trim adds 16-inch alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces, a 10-speaker Premium touch screen audio with 6-disc CD changer, MDI (Media Device Interface) iPod adapter, HD radio capability, and satellite radio with limited complimentary service. To this the TDI adds a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine, 6-speed manual transmission, 115-volt rear outlet and a multifunction steering wheel with audio controls.

Optional Equipment

SE trims can be equipped with a panoramic sunroof, while the TDI SportWagen can be outfitted with the panoramic sunroof and navigation. 2.5 S and SE models offer a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic, while the TDI trim can be equipped with the excellent 6-speed Direct-Shift Gearbox (DSG).

Under the Hood

The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen's two engine options provide the car with two distinct personalities. The 2.5-liter 5-cylinder models are peppy, but not what we'd call scintillating performers. The 2.5-liter is clearly geared more toward a lower price point, good fuel economy and adequate power. The 2.0-liter TDI diesel, on the other hand, may be the best choice for the 2012 Jetta SportWagen, promising good acceleration and terrific fuel economy at a reasonable price.

2.5-liter inline-5
170 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 mpg (manual), 24/31 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter turbodiesel inline-4
140 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 mpg (manual), 29/39 mpg (automatic)

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2012 Volkswagen Jetta Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 320 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Best in class by far

By on Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Everything"

Cons: "Few and mentioned in my review."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I own a 2014 Jetta SE 1.8 w/convenience now with almost 19K miles. So many positives: Awesome seats/comfort Responsive transmissions (6spd auto) Good power-never feels slow....feels quick and great on the hwy Handles great with good ride quality Roomy Heated seats Leather steering wheel Good MPGs Great A/C Love the monster mats. Paid around $21K for it OTD including taxes. Unreal to get a car this fun and polished for that. Love this car. Negatives: Dashboard isn't flashy but it's functional, styling is somewhat conservative for some."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Garbage and a complete waste of money.

By on Monday, January 04, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Decent mileage"

Cons: "Shotty emissions quality all around!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Diesel Particulate filter gave out at 80,000 miles, which is suppose to last atleast until 120,000 and costs $2,000 to replace. Now with the VW emissions scandal, the resale of the car has already dropped $2,000. So now I'm stuck with this gutless wonder of a car. Please do yourself a favor and look elsewhere for an economical car."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Excellent car! Fun to drive and easy to maintain.

By on Sunday, December 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive and reliable."

Cons: "Small car road noise."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought the car used from a dealership with 34,800 miles on it. I had it for 2 years and pot 30,000 miles on it. It always has run great and handles fantastic in the snow or other inclement weather. Upgrading to a CC and hoping the reliability on that is just as high!"

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Friday, December 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,900

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great overall."

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"First time buying a VW. This car is sporty, quiet, corners well, and is fun to drive. The ride is very smooth and solid. Excellent gas mileage if you drive it conservatively. Can get up and go when you want to. You have to remind yourself to drive conservatively. Love the way it handles...give you confidence. Couldn't be happier. Bought new 3/31/15."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Very comfortBle car with many unique features!

By on Friday, December 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great little care with many useful and unique feat"

Cons: "Only the bad reviews received by VW recently!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Too bad VW has caused such a bad name for the cars. I have enjoyed this little wagon and have gotten very good gas mileage. I really intend to keep the car for awhile longer since it is paid for!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

TDI Great Power Great Economy

By on Friday, November 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great power and mileage."

Cons: "Expensive to get the TDI"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Volkswagen is in trouble for not making this car meet the emission standards. It is marketed at 42mpg hwy and 32 city, mine gets 52mpg Hwy and 42mpg all around. The TDI has outstanding power and is very quiet, more so than the gas powered Jetta's. I went from a Cadillac STS V-8 to this car, performance wise they are very comparable. I will not be sending my car in to be de-tuned and choked down to get worse mileage and less power."

20 people out of 38 found this review helpful

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